This is from a press statement issued this morning by Common Cause North Carolina:
Move by NC Senate Redistricting Committee chair to block public from map-drawing area violates court order that all redistricting be conducted in full public view
RALEIGH – During a meeting of the NC Senate Redistricting Committee on Wednesday, Chairman Ralph Hise ejected members of the public and press from the map-drawing area, leaving citizens without any way to clearly observe how districts were being drawn and changed. That action runs counter to the court’s directive that all mapmaking be done in full public view.
Members of the public attending the committee meeting in person were left unable to hear lawmakers’ discussions as they amended maps. Likewise, there is no audio feed available online from the computer terminals in the committee room, leaving citizens watching remotely unable to hear what legislators were saying as they altered the districts.
“As a result of Sen. Hise’s order removing citizens and journalists from the map-drawing area, members of the committee were sitting at computers and amending maps without the public able to know how or why legislators were making changes to proposed districts. We consider this a direct violation of the court’s order that all mapmaking occur in public,” said Brent Laurenz, deputy director of Common Cause NC. “We call upon Sen. Hise and the NC Senate Redistricting Committee to immediately restore public and press access to the map-drawing area so that legislators are in compliance with the clearly stated court order that all redistricting be held in full public view.”
A nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy, Common Cause NC is lead plaintiff in the case of Common Cause v. Lewis.